Student Spotlight: Claire VanAken

Julianne Wilson, staff writer

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This week’s student spotlight is Claire Madison Van Aken. Claire is a junior at Jacksonville High School. She recently turned 17 and enjoyed her winter break by preparing for her upcoming J’ette season and spending time with family. Claire is a co-captain on the J’ette team. I asked Claire why she thought the team has been so prosperous in the past few years. She said that she thinks the success is due to the experienced team. Many girls on the J’ette team have been dancing since they could walk. 

Claire is proud to be a Crimson. I asked Claire what made JHS special. She replied, “Rich background of alumni, like Ken Norton.” Claire thinks that Mr. Chipman embodies the heart and soul of JHS. Even though he left us two years ago for South, his spirit reigns true. Claire’s favorite class at JHS is journalism. Claire is an excellent writer and has won many awards for her literary skills. High school can be rocky, but Claire relies most on her Nan during this confusing time

Next I shifted the questions to a lighter tone. “What slang term do you think should die?” “VSCO girls and e-boys, for sure.” Next I asked, “What slang term do you say way too much?” “Boi.” We talked about what she likes to do in her freetime. She is very busy with dance and teaching dance at the studio. “What do you typically do on Saturday mornings?” “Get coffee or clean my room. I clean on Saturdays.” Claire loves McDonald’s. I asked her what her go-to order from there is, and she replied, “Double cheeseburger with cheese and ketchup only, medium fry, and a Sprite.” I asked Claire a question that had been particularly on my mind, “What is your opinion on high school skate nites?” “Waste of time! We’ve all got better things to do.” In five years, Claire hopes to be a sports journalists interviewing professional football and basketball players. Finally, I asked Claire to give a seven-word story that described her life right now. “Pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza at all.”